IN SEARCH OF
“The U.S. can’t be sold as a brand, like Cheerios.”1
—The Wall Street Journal, editorial
“The truly great brands are far more than just labels for products.
They are symbols that encapsulate the desires of consumers… they are standards held aloft under which masses aggregate.”2
—Anthony O’Reilly, CEO, H. J. Heinz Company
BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY IS FRENCH. PROTOTYPICALLY FRENCH.
Flamboyantly French. He speaks with such a charming accent you can practically see the accent aigu floating above the “e” in his name. When he’s skeptical about something, which happens several times a day, his eyebrows rise like two accents circonflexes (“⋀”) in his forehead. He kisses ladies’ hands and, even in unfamiliar territory, moves with the easy grace of a maître d’ in his own dining room. Well into his fifties, he still has an unruly mane of dark brown hair and usually wears crisp black suits with dazzling white shirts open one more button than would be comfortable on someone with less panache. He’s tall, trim, broad shouldered, and has the aquiline nose of an ancient Gaul, even though he was born in Algeria to Jewish parents. They settled in France after the war, where his father founded a lumber company that made him a millionaire and left Bernard-Henri more than comfortable.
Though educated in France, Lévy’s origins may have given him a